The History of The Concord Watch Company

The History of The Concord Watch Company

In 1908, The Chicago Cubs won their 2nd of back-to-back World Series Championships, seemingly on top of the world at the moment. This first-ever rematch, of this young event, had the Cubs beating Ty Cobb, and the Detroit Tigers, again, this time in five games. This was the most poorly attended World Series in history, with the final game drawing a record-low 6,210 fans. Attendance in Chicago was harmed by a ticket-scalping scheme that fans accused the club’s owner, Charles Murphy, of participating in, and the World Series was boycotted to some degree. The 1908 World Series was significant, also, for being the last World Series championship the Cubs for the next 108 years.

That same year was historic, also, from a Horology reference, when five Swiss businessmen and visionaries formed The Concord Watch Company. The entrepreneurs were Walter Hugenin and Charles Bonny, both gifted watchmakers, of their time, along with three other men and partners; Boillat, Droz and Konz. Together, they set out to produce what other companies had done before, namely, produce high quality watches, however, their focus, in particular, was towards the American market. Fashions in American society, in 1908, was heavily influenced by both the Edwardian Period, of England, and by La Belle Époque, of France. The Western society, at the time, was characterized by optimism, peace, economic prosperity, and technological, scientific, and cultural innovations. The following century saw The Chicago Cubs stuck in a slump, to say the least, while The Concord Watch Company was flourishing, in their own way.

The Concord Watch Company began, in Biel, Switzerland, within, the famous, Watch Valley of Switzerland and was the first private labeled luxury watch brand to incorporate precious metals and gems in their watches. From the start, the company was determined to set the standard in watchmaking and their strict attention to detail, originality and performance set them apart from the competition. After World War I, Concord watches became famous for not only being amazing timepieces but for incredible works of art, with their jeweled platinum watches decorated by diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.

Churchill, Truman and Stalin 1945

 

Churchill, Truman and Stalin 1945

In 1945, American President Harry S. Truman presented Concord watches to, his allies, Winston Churchill, from the UK, and Joseph Stalin, from The Soviet Union, as a commemorative token at the Potsdam Peace Conference, held near Berlin, from July 17th through August 2nd, the last of the World War II meetings held by the ‘Big Three’ heads of state.

Concord was recognized as the first brand to design a wristwatch made of coins, in 1946, and the brand was gaining traction. After decades more of growth, in 1968, an independent organization conducted a survey, in the US, to assess consumer awareness of watch brands in the luxury segment. Concord ranked sixth.

In 1970, Concord shifted direction as the brand changed ownership. Gedalio “Gerry” Grinberg, a Cuban born watchmaker, was the founder and chairman of The North American Watch Corporation, based in Paramus, New Jersey. Grinberg started his business, as the Piaget Watch Company, in 1961, with the contents of a single suitcase. The company, renamed North American Watch Company in 1967, was initially a distributor of watches for Swiss manufacturers. The operations of The Concord Watch Company, SA, were integrated with The North American Watch Corporation, with its head office, in New York. The Concord brand flourished, going forward, and saw the start of an era, wherein, a number of Concord watch lines were introduced.

Concord Delirium

 

Concord Delirium

Grinberg, concerned over Japanese growth, demanded that Ebauches SA, or ETA, a Neuchâtel holding company for Swiss watch movement manufacturers, develop a world-beating ultra-thin movement before they lost the entire market. With that, on January 12, 1979, ETA together with Concord, Eterna, IWC and Longines announced the world’s thinnest watch. Measuring just 1.98 mm thick, the manufacturers introduced remarkably similar watches. In July, 1979, ETA announced another Delirium model that measured just 1.44 mm thick which Concord called the Delirium II. The ladies model, at 1.68 mm thick, was called Delirium III, released in January, 1980. In 1981, Concord introduced the Delirium Mariner, although thicker than any previous model, at 2.58 mm, it was nevertheless an extremely thin watch and the added thickness allowed it to be water resistant to 2 atmospheres. 

Also, in 1979, another notable watch, introduced, was the Concord Centurion, an ultra-thin sports watch that bore a resemblance to the Piaget Polo, the latter billed as the most expensive mass-produced luxury watch.

In 1980, Concord launched the Mariner sports watch. This paved the way for their sporty dress watch which combined an elegant aesthetic with flawless functionality. The Mariner was manufactured in steel, 18k gold, or two tone and ranged in size from 25mm to 45mm, with a distinct 12-sided, or round, case.

In 1986, the brand released the Concord Saratoga which was an icon for the company, even up to today. From its introduction, the Saratoga had been designed to be sporty and trendy. The line was named after the thoroughbred horse racing track, in New York, Saratoga Springs, home to the Saratoga Race Course.

In 1991, Concord launches the Sirius line of watches, a men’s platinum watch with 295 diamonds of the highest quality, totaling 64.16 carats.

In 1996, the North American Watch Company rebranded as The Movado Group, named after their Swiss brand watch company they had purchased, in 1984. By 2004, The Movado Group had grown to include Movado, Ebel and Concord, while, later on, adding MVMT, plus additional licensed brands, as well.

In 1997, Concord launches two successful new watch families: the classically bold Impresario, featuring a distinctive coined edge and a textured dial, and the geometric, 18K gold, or steel, Concord La Scala, a fashion-forward timepiece of Art Deco-inspired elegance. The La Scala boasts exceptional pieces in various forms and dimensions ranging in size from 20mm to a 43mm complete with diamonds and mother of pearls, for example.

In 1998, increasing their luxury appeal, Concord unveiled the Impresario Mechanique Collection which was an automatic chronometer movement of high complication to compliment the quartz line.

To commemorate the silver anniversary, of the original Delirium, Concord unveiled the new Delirium XXV Collection, including limited editions models, at BaselWorld 2004. The collection includes 18K gold quartz and limited edition manual-winding mechanical timepieces.

Concord C1 Gravity Tourbillion

 

Concord C1 Gravity Tourbillion

In 2008, Concord created two new C1 pieces. The C1 World Timer and the C1 Gravity Tourbillion. The later won the prestigious “Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve” as “Best design of the year, 2008”.  The launch of the C1 was highly touted and targeted the ever-popular luxury sport market. The style and pricing were designed to compete with watches such as Panerai, Audemars Piguet and Hublot, some of the most luxury watch brands in the world.

Gerry Grinberg passed away, at age 77, on January 04th, 2009. Alex Grinberg, his son, was then appointed as the worldwide CEO, of Concord Watch Company.

Concord watches, standing more than 100 years, have been credited for creating luxury timepieces of exceptional craftsmanship and beauty combined with reliability and modern technology that display a highly innovative and ambitious design.

Times Ticking has been in operation for more than 30 years, since 1982. We have performed watch repair for customers both locally and internationally. If it Ticks! We KNOW it! Our team of watch repair technicians have a combined experience in watchmaking of over 120 years.